Local Matters

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Gillam-Grant Community Center

June 27, 2014 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Gillam-Grant Community Center, bergen.

My first introduction to nostalgia was American Graffiti and Happy Days. For a time in the 1970s, nostalgia for the 1950s was big. I performed "She's 16" in my junior high school choir's '50s review show.

I remember talking with my mom about the concept of nostalgia and she said, "You know, someday, people will be nostalgic about the 1970s." I told her, "nah, that will never happen."

Yesterday, the '70s came to life again at the Gillam-Grant Community Center for a celebration of the center's 40th anniversary.

As tunes from the Partridge Family, the Bee Gees and Fleetwood Mac blasted from a boombox, folks could munch on Twinkies and Pringles while sipping Tang.

Many in the crowd dressed for the occasion.

Loren Penman told me the printed invitation for the event noted that the 1970s were really a diverse decade. It went from "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" to "Staying Alive," and I added, "and "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "God Save the Queen'' (though there was nobody dressed like Joey Ramone or Sid Vicious at the event).

October 17, 2013 - 9:56pm
Event Date and Time: 
November 16, 2013 - 8:00pm to 9:30pm

Back by popular demand!  Singer-songwriters Natalia Zukerman and Adrianne Gonzalez (AG) bring their talent and magic from NYC and LA, respectively, to the Byron-Bergen High auditorium for a concert to benefit programming at the Gillam-Grant Community Center.  Tickets are $15 advance sale and $20 at the door.  Call The Center at 494-1621 for info.  

February 13, 2011 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in byron, Gillam-Grant Community Center.

For the past seven months, the staff at Gillam-Grant Community Center on West Bergen Road, Bergen, has been hosting members of the community -- a dozen at a time -- for a tour and information session about the 30-year-old center.

The "Growing Gillam-Grant" programs provide insight into what Gillam-Grant is about through the stories of the seniors, adults and children who have benefited from and contributed to Gillam-Grant.

"We share the stories so people understand what we do," said Peggy Swapceinski, executive director.

It's also a chance for members of the community to provide feedback on programs and services so Gillam-Grant can evolve, Swapceinski said, and continue meeting the community's needs.

Gillam-Grant provides programs that vary from adult education and senior meals, to children's day camps and crafts. The current newsletter also promotes an upcoming theater performance, bus trips and fitness classes.

Growing Gillam-Grant sessions are by invitation, but open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the center. To request an invitation to a future event, call (585) 494-1621.

Photos: Above, Loren Penman explains some of Gillam-Grant's programs, and below, Shirley Wade tells the story of a Gillam-Grant patron.

June 18, 2009 - 7:36am


There are at least four options -- and maybe more, listening to the people who attended the public meeting last night at Byron Town Hall -- for the citizens of Byron and Bergen to consider for library space now that the Gillam-Grant Community Center will stop funding support for the library in that facility.

About 40 people attended last night's meeting, and most had something to say about the library situation.

"We have a lot of work to do," Kristin Gordon, financial secretary for the Byron-Bergen Public Library Board, said after the meeting. "It's obvious to me that the consensus of the crowd is to keep both libraries open. The public feedback is important. There were lots of good points made tonight and I assure you none of it will fall on deaf ears.

Certainly, both library locations have their supporters.

The town people seem to favor Gillam-Grant, while the village folk like their easily accessible library location.

"Kids walk to the library every day," Cheryl Wittman, of Bergen, who said she's lived in the area for 29 years. "A lot of the programs they have at night, the summer programs, and lots of parents work so they can't take them there, so they need to walk."

An older woman in the audience said a short time later, “It’s got to stay in the village. It’s got to.”

But many town residents seemed to favor the Gillam-Grant location, arguing that it is more easily accessible to the entire community, not just the village residents.

It is also a newer, slightly large facility.

The village library is about 1,400 square feet and was described by board members as small and in need of expansion.  The Gillam-Grant location is 2,000 square feet and has room for offices and storage space.

The rent for the Gillam-Grant location, however, is $8,000 per month, while the village location is $1,200 per month.

One audience member pointed out that with a combined library, with increased traffic and more books to store, the additional 600 sq. ft. isn't that much more space.

And all of the options for the community are like that -- every option has pros in cons.

In fact, every member of the crowd received a piece of paper that listed the four main options with the pros and cons of each option written out.

The four primary options are:

  • Close the Gillam-Grant location and keep the village location;
  • Close the village location and keep Gillam-Grant
  • Obtain school district/special district library status
  • Keep both locations open, relying on existing town funding or through status change.

None of the options are clear-cut winners.  Besides the financial and space constraints associated with the current locations, an option that involves creating a new special district would take 18 months to two years to complete.

The funding for the Gillam-Grant location -- which pays for building operations and staffing -- is set to expire Dec. 31.

The comunity has a chance to come together again tonight at 7 p.m. to discuss the issue at the Bergen Village Hall.

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